Every month, from Lapstone to Mt Wilson, more than fifty-five groups of bushcare volunteers, of all ages and backgrounds, troop out to their local patches of bushland and spend a few hours together helping to reverse the damage done to the environment by invasive weeds and stormwater runoff.
They do this by assessing the existing vegetation, planning carefully, removing weeds, encouraging the bush to expand, consolidating the progress made, then moving into new areas. They use the principles of bush regeneration to guide their work.
Groups can also find themselves working on stormwater control, erosion control, track maintenance and improvement, seed collection, plant propagation and other bushland management issues, as well as public education.
A community movement
The Blue Mountains Bushcare program traces its beginnings to 1989 when volunteer groups started to form.
Since 1992 these community efforts have been supported by Blue Mountains City Council, which now provides Bushcare Officers, tools, and on-site training.
There are now over seventy-five bushcare and landcare groups. For every hour that Council puts into the program the community puts in more than three. It is a true community movement.
To promote ecologically sound management of bushland within the City of Blue Mountains by fostering a sense of community responsibility for the natural environment and by supporting the community to enable program objectives to be met. BMCC Bushcare Policy, 1998
The Social Side of Bushcare
Bushcare involves much more than looking after local bushland. It’s also a social occasion, with legendary morning teas and lots of far-ranging conversation.
Alan Lane, of Pope’s Glen Bushcare Group, looks forward to his group’s get-togethers.
It’s a great feeling… If you come down to work on your local reserve the other members will warmly welcome you. The group will work for a couple of hours, then stop for a morning or afternoon tea break.
Alan says that in addition to patience, he has learn a lot about the plants and animals and how ecosystems work. He says it’s great to get outside in the fresh air, get some exercise and help save our unique Australian bush.
Where are the groups? When do they work?
There are Bushcare groups in every village in the Blue Mountains — often several in each area. Individual groups meet monthly, for the most part on weekends. They generally work half days.
Use the ‘Locations’ dropdown menu to find the Bushcare group closest to you. Let us know that you’re interested. Come along for a friendly, positive and educational work session. You’ll receive training and supervision from a qualified Council Bushcare Officer.
Go to the Join page on this website and fill in the form, or ring Council’s Bushcare Section on 4780 5623.
Are you a student looking for information about local bushland?
Bushcare groups are a great source of information about local bushland sites in the Blue Mountains.
Attend a Bushcare gathering where you can find out the answers to your questions by asking the volunteers and Bushcare Officer whilst you assist them with their work. This is a great way of discovering environmental issues affecting local bushland, and the group will appreciate your help.
Contact the Bushcare Officer for a local site. As most groups only meet once a month, you will need to do this early so as not to miss the date. The Bushcare Officer will be able to tell you where and when the group meets. Note, though, that Bushcare Officers spend only limited time in the office.
You can find out what weeds look like, how they enter the bush, how to remove them, which ones are rated pririty weeds and more at the Weeds of the Blue Mountains website. A terrific resource for gardeners and all Blue Mountains residents wanting the best for their local environment.